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Feb 9, 2008 12:40 PM

Dessert & Blanc De Noir Pairing

Hello - I am working on a menu and would like to find a bitter-sweet/dark chocolate dessert to be paired with a Blanc de Noir or rose sparkling wine.

I want this to be an "interactive" dessert as I will have a chef manning this - so don't want something simple as dark chocolate truffles. It needs to be something that the chef will have his "hands on" for the guest, but it doesn't need to be too over the top. For example, my milk chocolate dessert will be a manned table with a chef dipping driscoll strawberries in milk chocolate and my semi-sweet chocolate station will be a chef pouring merlot or syrah syrup on semi-sweet chocolate brownie bites each time a guest requests one.

Many many thanks for your help in advance!!

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  1. >>> I am working on a menu and would like to find a bitter-sweet/dark chocolate dessert to be paired with a Blanc de Noir or rose sparkling wine. <<<

    So shouldn't this be on a food board?

    1. Hi KT...

      Well you're certainly adventurous to try and pair a Blanc de Noirs (or rose for that matter), with chocolate... but you can do it.... Have your chef work to create a GOAT cheese cheesecake infused with chestnuts and a medium chocolate (around 60%-65%). Optionally, add a hint of raspberry. The chestnut and goat cheese nuances will really bring the dish to the blanc de noir, enjoy :)

      Also, not to be argumentative, but I don't get the connection with Merlot or Syrah syrup and chocolate... and what kind of wine you'd ultimately pair that with. I'd much more strongly recommend a "sauce" that triangulates well with a particular wine. In general I'd recommend serving Muscat, Malaga, or some ports (esp. tawnies) with your chocolate dishes. I list some examples below for your chocolate-based dessert stations:

      TARGET WINE: MUSCAT. Chocolate dish with sauce/infusion of ... Various nuts, vanilla, fruits, caramels, coffee, ginger is great

      TARGET WINE: TAWNY PORT: Chocolate dish with sauce/infusion of... Walnuts, dried fruits, caramel, toffee....

      you can see that a merlot or syrah sauce just comes off as an outlier... Ask your chef to concoct some of the above combinations for a more satisfying pairing! enjoy.

      1. Huge fan of sparkling wine and chocolate here, but a huge fan of enjoying them separately, not together. I don't think sparkling wine pairs well with chocolate. It tastes sour and harsh with desserts in general, even a bubbly that's demi-sec. Bubbly pairs well with savory items, but rarely dessert.

        I apologize; I sincerely don't mean to be unkind, because it's obvious you've put some thought into your chocolate "stations." I simply want you to be aware of how your wine pairings with chocolate may not be successful.

        The classic rule for pairing desserts with wine is that the dessert must always be LESS SWEET than the wine, or the wine will taste sour and the pairing won't work.

        And generally, that means off-sweet or barely sweet or tart-sweet desserts paired with sweet (dessert) wines. And barely sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate desserts with pair more successfully than sweeter chocolate.

        With those tips in mind, if you wanted to stick with a sparkling wine, I'd shift away from Blanc de Noirs and more towards pairing with Brachetto d'Acqui, a raspberry/strawberry-ish sparkler that pairs very well with chocolate.

        Because they're sweeter, the milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate will be more difficult to pair. As mentioned, both call for wine that's as sweet or sweeter. The best pairings I know with chocolate are Malmsey Madeira (Malmsery indicates a sweetness level), Pedro Ximenez Sherry and 20-year tawny. I'm not a fan of Muscat or Moscato, as some others who write on this wine board are, as much as the other wines mentioned.

        What these wines provide is sweetness, caramel and nut flavors, sometimes dried fruit flavors -- that interact deliciously with chocolate, and a voluptuous mouthfeel.

        And, tawny port really doesn't develop the toasted nut, caramel and dried fruit flavors unless it's 20 years old. Other people say 10 is fine; but I've always been disappointed in the lack of flavor development with a ten-year tawny.

        That being said, chicago mike's goat cheese/chocolate/raspberry flavor idea for a cheesecake sounds quite interesting. As long as it's off-sweet. Even so, it wouldn't pair with Blanc de Noir, IMO. The Brachetto d'Acqui sounds promising with it, however.